Rachel Held-Evans made the news again for a piece she wrote for CNN's Belief Blog. In it she argues that the church must begin listening to the concerns of Millenials if it is to survive. She asserts that the church is losing the younger generation because it is too conservative, opposes gay marriage, and not involved enough in social justice. Of course the first problem with her argument is that the church she's calling for exists already in numerous forms: The United Methodist Church, PCUSA, American Baptists, and The United Church of Christ. And, by the way, those denominations have been steadily dying for the better part of the last century.
Held-Evans' post generated many helpful replies but I think Brett McCracken truly nails it.
Millennials: why don’t we take our pastors, parents, and older Christian brothers and sisters out to coffee and listen to them? Perhaps instead of perpetuating our sense of entitlement and Twitter/blog/Instagram-fueled obsession with hearing ourselves speak, we could just shut up for a minute and listen to the wisdom of those who have gone before?Read the entire article HERE.
And for pastors, church leaders, and others so concerned with the survival of the church amidst the glut of “adapt or die!” hype, is asking Millennials what they want church to be and adjusting accordingly really your best bet? Are we really to believe that today’s #hashtagging, YOLO-oriented, selfie-obsessed generation of Millennials has more wisdom to offer about the church than those who have thought about and faithfully served the church decade after decade, amidst all its warts, challenges and ups and down?
Part of the problem is the hubris of every generation, which thinks it has discovered, once and for all, the right way of doing things. C.S. Lewis called it “chronological snobbery,” defining it as “the uncritical acceptance of the intellectual climate common to our own age and the assumption that whatever has gone out of date is on that account discredited.”
But a deeper problem is that Christianity has become too obsessed with how it is perceived. Just like the Photoshop-savvy Millennials she is so desperate to retain, the church is ever more meticulously concerned with her image, monitoring what people are saying about her and taking cues from that.